White Pencil Skirt by Sewing Tidbits

A white pencil skirt

Dear readers,


A few weeks ago I heard myself proclaiming that I was officially sick of seeing exposed metal zippers. I have tendency of making radical statements, about the smallest things, even when I’m not that convinced myself. It’s a French thing and it’s embarrassing. As a result, I often end up in the awkwardly looking at my shoes because I just did what I said I would never ever do. Case in point with this pencil skirt, which most interesting feature is an exposed gold metal double zipper.

White Pencil Skirt by Sewing Tidbits

I had initially no plan to participate in this year Sewing Bee contest organized by Pattern Review, but when the pencil skirt theme was announced, I knew I had to. I wear a lot of pencil skirts, I have my own pattern and I can make one relatively quickly. But the twist is that the skirt has to be inspired by music or a musician… I’ve more of an analytical mind than a creative one. So asking me to think of skirt when I listen to song or look at a bridge leaves me completely blank.

I decided to look at celebrities wearing pencil skirts, and Victoria Beckham is a big proponent of them. I know it’s a stretch to call her a musician, since she publicly acknowledged that she actually never sang while part of the Spice Girls. But I was a HUGE Spice Girls fan in my early teens (walls covered in posters type of fan!) so it’s actually a pretty good match for me. I also very much like the way she handles her fashion labels.

Pencil skirts are a basic piece of Victoria Beckham’s main label and she has at least one per season. Since I live a few blocks away from Saks Fifth Avenue, I decided to have a quick look at her skirts. Just like Roland Mouret, she uses a type of thick knit material, something between scuba and Herve Leger Bandage dresses, and leaves the garments unlined. I’m not a fan of the knits, and that exact material is quite hard to come by, so I decided to do a classic lined wool skirt with that distinctive metal double zipper at the center back.

White Pencil Skirt by Sewing TidbitsWhite Pencil Skirt by Sewing TidbitsPattern

Pattern Link – My own free pencil skirt pattern
Size – 00

I removed the waistband and did a faced high waist instead. I extended the waist line straight up by 1″1/4, including the darts, and I drafted a facing.
I used my lining pieces (unfortunately I haven’t been able to make it available as part of the download yet) and remove the CB seam allowance on both the self and the lining to allow for the exposed zipper. In effect, that eliminates the back vent too.

White Pencil Skirt by Sewing TidbitsWhite Pencil Skirt by Sewing TidbitsMaking

Fabric – Wool suiting from Mood Fabric, I believe it was The Row, lining is a lightweight silk twill from my stash.
Notions – Custom made double zip from Botani in  the NY Garment District.

The wool, the silk I used for lining and the interfacing were all from my stash so it was basically a “free” project. Until I decided to splurge big time on the zipper. I know you can get a double zip shortened at Pacific Trimming in NYC, but the day I went their technician was not there. I couldn’t come back any other day and I was on a deadline for the PR challenge, so I went to Botani instead. Their service is great, you can customize any element of a zipper, the tape, the metal color, the size of the teeth, the pull, separating, etc. 20 minutes (and 20 dollars) later you have your perfectly matched zipper!

I’ve made quite a few pencil skirts by now so the construction was very straightforward. I bagged the lining, enclosed the zip between the self layer and the lining and left an opening in one of the lining side seams to turn the skirt over. It’s quick and it looks very clean.

White Pencil Skirt by Sewing Tidbits

The hardest element of this project was managing to take pictures of it before the deadline of the contest. I only managed to get a few decent ones and a little person decided that she needed to be part of the photoshoot. I really like my final skirt, and I’m super happy that it was part of the pieces I had on my #2017MakeNine plan! I hope to do a post soon on how I’m doing with that plan, let’s see if I carve out the time. What about you? Are you following up on your sewing resolutions for 2017?


20 thoughts on “A white pencil skirt

  1. Kay

    Beautiful classy skirt!!! I’m going to download that pencil skirt and try it sometime. Looks very chic!

    Didn’t know about Victoria Beckham not singing but way impressed that she openly acknowledged it.

  2. Chris @ makeandwear

    Your skirt is lovely, very chic with the gold zip against simple fabric. Very cute pictures too.
    I also used a separating zip in my pencil skirt for the sewing bee. I’m looking forward to seeing how the competition progresses.

  3. Fabric Tragic

    Very chic! The zip truly does make it spectacular – worth the investment. Can’t say I’ve had sewing resolutions this year as such but have been determined to minimise purchasing RTW maternity wear, and using up my slightly crappier fabrics languishing in my stash for such short term garments – have been pretty successful in that department!

    • Sewing Tidbits

      Thank you Sarah!!
      I’m impressed at your maternity wear efforts. By the way, I don’t know how it would do in Australia, but the few maternity RTW pieces I had bought did very well at the main maternity consignment store in NYC. That’s something to keep in mind when you purge your closet of all the elasticated waist pants…

      • Fabric Tragic

        What a great idea – a maternity consignment store! I’m unaware of such a place here, but the few maternity items I’ve seen in op shops (thrift stores) and loaned by friends have been basically already worn to death…. at this stage all I’ve bought has been bras, 2 pairs of jeans and a pair of shorts – all will no doubt end up being donated!

    • Sewing Tidbits

      Thank you Connie!

      I wore the skirt all day yesterday with the bottom open a few inches to act as a slit. I work an office job so I mostly sit and it didn’t bother me. I guess the slit kind of splits open?

  4. PsychicSewerKathleen

    I love your skirt and you’re right that zipper was SO worth it! It’s gorgeous – the fabric, fit, length everything is just so perfect for you. I’ve never wandered into the territory of custom zippers! That’s a whole new arena for me and in truth I doubt there is any place where I live (Victoria BC Canada) where I could have that done. I’d probably have to muscle through the challenge myself which would take me a while to lather myself up for 🙂

    • Sewing Tidbits

      Thank you Kathleen! I’m sure it can be done at home but it probably requires some tools. I’m pretty much useless when it comes to tools if they are not directly related to sewing so I wouldn’t dare trying, but someone more handy could figure it out!!

  5. maryfunt

    I absolutely love this; such a chic look. I agree that exposed zips have been much overused but this looks right. Botani is one of my favorite sources. I often leave my zipper order while across the street at Mood. Great pics.

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